Marietta 1 45, South Paulding 39
Marietta’s backcourt led the Blue Devils (1-1) to their first win of the season as 2021 6-0 G MaKyle Lockett led the way with 11 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals. Lockett sank two threes in the first half before slashing to the hole in the second to balance his scoring. Marietta led 23-15 at the half and used an 8-0 run to open the final 20 minutes as 2020 6-0 G Jaquan Harris’ activity started to find cracks in the South Paulding defense. Harris finished with 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal while 2022 6-0 G Eric Howard Jr. posted 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. South Paulding (0-2) mounted a comeback behind 2020 6-2 SG Caleb Duncan’s 13 points off 3 threes and 2020 6-0 G Jared Amritt’s 10 points, all coming in the second half with 3 three-pointers. The Spartans trimmed the lead to 39-33 with 2:25 remaining but ultimately ran out of time. 2020 6-6 F Knowledge Ruben made his CTC debut and contributed 9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Ruben has shed close to 80 pounds since his freshman year at South Paulding and has chiseled his body into a powerful frame. He knocked down a jumper off the dribble but did tend to overdribble at times on fastbreaks instead of getting it to a guard.
North Paulding 40, Kennesaw Mountain 20
Our early season breakout performer on the girl’s side continues to be 2022 5-9 F Aliyah Washington. Washington has an uncanny nose for the ball and found herself in the right spot at the right time consistently. The seemingly positionless forward double-doubled with 13 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. Washington positioned herself well and used her wide frame to carve out space for offensive rebounds. She even started her own fastbreaks a handful of times and pushed the ball well in transition. Washington’s aggressive play was contagious for North Paulding (2-0) as 2020 5-6 G Amirra Webb made an impact with 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal and 2022 5-7 G Arianna Simmons added 4 points and 2 steals. Ten Wolfpack players scored as North Paulding built and early 11-0 lead and never looked back, taking a 20-11 lead into the half. 2021 5-6 G Caroline Ariaz was a jolt of energy with her tight on-ball defense leading to 5 steals and 2 points. Kennesaw Mountain (0-2) got good work inside from 2021 5-10 F Shanique Reid who finished with 7 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 3 blocks. Reid scored on a nice spinning drop step and protected the rim on defense. The Mustangs have struggled to score this season but Reid has been consistent, scoring 7 points in each game. I would like to see Reid be a little more assertive on offense and hunt her shot more when her team goes through dry spells. PG Crystal Nguyen played with confidence and came away with 4 points, 4 rebounds and 1 steal. 2020 5-6 G Natalie Fincher spaced the floor and knocked down a three-ball to go along with her 2 rebounds and 1 assist.
Hillgrove 36, Cass 33
Hillgrove (1-1) nursed a 19-16 halftime lead to a three-point win as 2020 6-3 W Nate Meshida put on a show. The strong bodied guard scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the first half and collected 7 rebounds and 1 steal. Meshida got downhill in a hurry and punished defenders at the rim. He went 9-of-11 from the foul line including 4-of-5 in the second half close the game. Burly big man 2020 6-5 PF Arinze Ekwinche battled against Cass’ length to find 9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block. Ekwinche doesn’t always look for his offense but the muscle scored inside on a pretty drop step that overpowered his defender. 2020 6-0 G Jaden Hannon chipped in 5 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in the win. Hillgrove led 27-17 midway through the second half before Cass (1-1) came surging back. 2022 5-10 G Kamryn Callahan and 2021 5-11 G Braxton Benham banked in back-to-back threes to cut the Hawk lead to 31-27 with 8:15 left. Callahan, who had 5 points and 3 rebounds, scored on a second chance opportunity to trim the lead to 33-32 with 1:05 remaining but Hillgrove got enough stops and a halfcourt heave missed at the buzzer to thwart the rally. Benham led Cass with 9 points while 2022 6-6 F Zaylan Chaney added 8 points, 4 rebounds and 1 steal. Chaney showed more flashes of greatness in the first half, scoring on a pretty spin move, hitting the offensive glass and soaring in for a finger roll off a steal.
East Paulding 29, Macon Mystics 24
East Paulding (1-1) eked out a tight win over the young Macon Mystics (0-2) in an exciting game. 2021 5-7 G Faith Lovejoy found her stroke early on for the Lady Raiders, netting 9 of her team-high 10 points in the first half. Lovejoy came out aggressive and looked confident in her second game with her new school. She tacked on 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals and benefited playing alongside 2020 5-9 G Kimberlyn Black who tallied 8 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals as the engine. 2022 5-9 F Halle Verkerk led all players with 7 rebounds to go with her 4 points. A 6-3 run gave East Paulding just enough separation to grow a 28-23 lead with 2:18 left, but the Mystics would fight till the final buzzer behind burgeoning star 2023 5-6 G Jada Morgan. The crafty playmaker had a game-high 11 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 3 steals. Morgan attacked the basket relentlessly and exceled at turning corners and getting her shoulders clear of defenders. She lived at the line going 7-of-14. 2025 5-6 G Laila Harvey nailed a three and finished with 5 points and 1 block while Mya Epps worked her way to 6 rebounds.
Paulding County 55, Marietta 2 24
The Patriots (2-0) played fast and blew past Marietta 2, ballooning a 28-14 halftime lead into a 31-point win. 2020 6-1 G Keon Sedgwick and 2021 6-5 W Kervens Yacinthe stepped on the gas in the second half, combining for 24 points after the pair scored two apiece in the first half. Sedgwick stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 1 block, making electric no-look passes in transition while Yacinthe got to the basket, finishing with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 1 assist. 2021 6-2 G Christian Burdette hit two threes on his way to 7 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal. Burdette has some smoothness about his game and should benefit heavily from playing alongside Sedgwick for another year. 2022 6-4 PF Willie Smith bruised his way to 4 points and 4 rebounds while 2020 6-4 F Elijah Branch turned heads with his bounce, snagging 8 rebounds off the bench and adding on 2 assists and a steal. 2020 6-3 F Caleb Jarrell did the little things, posting 5 points, 2 rebounds, 3 blocks and drawing a charge. For Marietta (0-2), 2023 6-5 F Dontavious Blackwell and 2021 6-4 F Andre Hanes battled inside. Blackwell had 2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks while Hanes contributed 6 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist and provided toughness on the glass. 2022 6-1 W Bryant Elliott tacked on 5 points and 3 rebounds, hitting a three in the process.
EOTO Sisters 45, Allatoona 18
2020 5-6 G Dekyia Cofield made her CTC debut with EOTO Sisters and did not disappoint, adding a true ball-handling guard to the mix. The state runner-up from Villa Rica had 9 points (2 threes), 4 rebounds and 2 steals. 2020 6-0 C Taylor Doucet (Pace Academy) powered her way to 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. 2020 5-6 CG Dasia Wyatt (Bowdon) had a rough first half but settled in with 6 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals and 1 block. The lefty will need to work on using her right hand to round out her offensive arsenal and take her game to the next level. 5-5 G Abigail Howle hit two three-pointers and had 3 rebounds. 2023 5-8 SG Briley Merrill (Ranburne, AL) had 5 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. She knocked down a three but her most impressive play was a strong drive to the left with a scooping layup that barely rolled off the rim. Allatoona (1-1) saw some positives from their young group, especially in the play of 2023 5-5 G Kyndall Smith, who buried two threes and had 8 points and 3 rebounds in her debut. 2021 5-10 F Maddie Gamblin hit a three as well and finished with 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks. 2021 5-11 F Jaasira Fossitt had 2 points, 4 rebounds and 4 big blocks. 2021 5-4 G Davianna Loccisano brought a nice feel and pace to the Allatoona backcourt as she tossed in 4 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists and 1 steal.
Allatoona 42, East Paulding 38
The final game of Week 2 was full of highlights as Allatoona (2-0) held off East Paulding (1-1). 2021 5-11 PG Isaiah Logan scored the first seven points of the game for Allatoona to set the tone and would finish with 8 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. He and 2021 6-3 F Kevin Taylor made plays on both ends of the floor. Taylor, a true-swiss army knife that plays bigger than his size, collected 7 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 1 block. Allatoona led 25-21 at halftime but they had no answer for star forward 2020 6-5 F Sean Rutledge. The dynamic big had 15 of his game-high 23 points in the first half and finished with 9 rebounds and 1 block. Rutledge absorbed four And-1s throughout the night but left points on the board going 4-of-11 from the stripe. Rutledge attacked from the wing, spinning his way through traffic where he could overpower defenders. He hit a three and took his men off the dribble. Rutledge’s dominant performance was for naught however as Allatoona’s balance kept coming at the Raiders in waves. 2020 5-11 G RJ Shaw II had 7 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists while 2021 6-4 F Cam Baldwin chipped in 6 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block. Down the stretch, Taylor and 2020 6-2 G Prentiss Church made key plays to preserve the victory. With 40 seconds remaining and the Buccaneers up 39-38, Taylor denied Rutledge on a hard drive to the basket. Seconds later, Church hit two free throws to extend the lead and then clinched the win with a late steal. Church, who didn’t play in the first half, finished with 5 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist. East Paulding didn’t have enough help around Rutledge. 2022 5-7 G Ashriel Dixon hit two threes while 2022 6-3 W Sebastian Tidor added 4 points and 3 rebounds. 2020 6-6 F Josh Andrade’s athleticism provided the Raiders with a huge spark, finishing with 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 3 blocks.